This testimony was given by a person is called "mokara9" on a blog-entry. All rights remains by the original author:
This nineteen year old troubled girl has been indoctrinated nothing more! She is speaking the party line and you are all fascists to be buying that any of this is ok!
I was also in the Village and it helped me about as much as two years as a POW would have. It also cost my parents insurance company over 150,000 dollars a year. What passes for treatment there is a fascist farce and the girls i was in with were hardly hardened criminals. One girl was in for being gay another for being molested by a close relative and that was it, lots of anorexics, and suicide attempts.
Many were in for more serious things but I know from personal experience beating, brainwashing and taking away all the civil rights of a teenager does not make them want to not self destruct. This hell hole is sold as a way to help these girls. Also how, if there is no legal recourse for them and they are completely isolated, can any of this so called treatment be kept above any sort of level? How do we know kids are not getting lost in it! As they certainly are.
What about the girls who accused a close relative of molesting them and their families put them in the Village? What the hell is that! Many of the girls were victims of a sexual predator or a rape or of something that constituted rape due to the age difference. Or they were just acting out or got lost in their complete alienation from the kind of parents that would send them off to be abused and not care that they were.
Many of the state kids did not have fit parents, in fact most of them didn't. You know, of course, that when I say state kids I mean your tax dollars are paying for their stay in Peninsula Village. It's hard to grow up by yourself and out of the frying pan there are plenty of fires!
There were some nasty people in there for sure but most of them were staff members. I am now twenty five and it took me seven ++ years to undo some of the abuse I suffered in that stupid Nazi sh$t hole, and you better believe when I finally finish my masters degree in Sociology and political Science there is going to be holy hell to pay!
Anything I have done in my life has been in spite of that stupid evil farce and I still have nightmares and a fun case of post traumatic stress disorder, I shake uncontrollably about once a day! I think all of these privately run facilities should be shut down and their staff brought up on repeat child abuse charges!
I am currently working with the state of Tennessee child protection agency to try and get this done. These children are simply troubled teenagers and Peninsula Village is a fascist Nazi prison camp and Abigail needs to try and break out of her indoctrination!
Any place that won't let you talk to a lawyer, your parents or the police and does what the Village does to you belongs no where but is more expected in the third world!
I know how that place colors people and it angered me to hear the other girls spoken of in that way! They make everything sound as degrading as possible, especially if you have good insurance. Suicide attempts are suicide attempts, what is so bad that a 13-18 year old girl wants to die already! I know what passes for some of the things that they listed as the other girls doing!
I remember how they repeatedly, every day all day, maligned and shamed girls who were already so traumatized they could barely see straight. How is this supposed to help some 13 to 18 year old that has been through something like that?
It is just so much fun to watch large stupid sadists abuse a 85 pound anorexic or a rape victim or tell the rape victim it was her fault. That it's all her fault. This isn't therapy this is Abu Ghraib!
These poor girls, they treat convicted felons better in this country. It's such a catch twenty-two you try to self destruct because you were abused and then they put you in a place that abuses you more to learn you how to not self destruct.
State sanctioned very expensive child abuse runs on social stigma and prejudice. If you want to see some blaming of the victim go on be a fly on the wall at Peninsula Village!
I bet half of the girls I was in with are dead by now, which is where Peninsula Village really wants them, out of the way so they can't cause a fuss or show up with insurance papers with extortionist amounts on them and demand some of it back.
Please read this. Everyone should know what is happening in America today. My story is not uncommon or even the worst case scenario, look up Mel Sembler and the Straight program as well as troubled teen help and abuse at behavior modification facilities, it is a very scary thing to do!
I was in Peninsula Village two years from 96 to 98, both my parents and I feel that we were extremely misled as to what my treatment there would be like. I was in the lock down unit for six months on arrival to the Village although I was cowed, completely subservient and did everything that they told me to.
I was physically restrained on the first day in a hospital gown by at least 8 large adults for nothing more than pulling away, it was an impulse reaction, when the large orderly woman dug her nails purposefully into my arm.
There was absolutely no need to restrain me other than to prove a point, we can hurt you if we want to. I was already in the isolation room all she had to do was walk out and close the door, I wasn’t at all violent or had even thought to be, pulling away was a knee jerk reaction because she had hurt me. Mostly I was scared, crying and sitting on the floor of the isolation room in a ball.
This was after the body search and being woken up at 5:30 in the morning by three burly adults who escorted me to Tennessee, it was more like being kidnapped.
While being restrained the Peninsula Village staff applied excessive pressure, I couldn't breathe and kept repeating that I was choking, but they let no pressure off, I was bruised and sore the next day, the restraint went on for hours.
I saw one girl with a nasty black eye which they said came from pressing her face into the floor, like that made it better! I saw other cases with bruised arms, wrists or legs. They restrain someone about twice a week.
There is no doubt in my mind that they could have restrained my totally non-resistant sobbing 95 pound borderline anorexic teenage self between all 1400 pounds of the 8 of them without hurting me. I was not fighting at all, even at first, I was far too shocked. Each held a body part so it was not a case of too many cooks in the kitchen, they meant to hurt us. They also keep restraining you long after any fight is gone and even if none was there in the first place.
I remember girls being restrained for what seemed like all night, although it was really only about five hours. There was an isolation room in the lockdown unit, nice cold hard linoleum with cement underneath but they would restrain you anywhere, gravel, garden manure, whatever, and they used a straight jacket called a burrito.
I can remember seeing one tough little state kid stuck in that thing for a day or more, they were leading her around. Other girls were strapped to a cot wrapped up in it, stuck full of thorzine and left to drool. There were about two restraints a week.
I was once restrained because I couldn't stop crying , I really couldn't I would have stopped of course to avoided being restrained, I was about as resistant as a wet noodle and they still held me down choking for hours.
They would restrain girls without reason, for saying in group therapy, I don’t agree with that, or for sitting down on work detail saying that they felt sick and needed to rest. We were not allowed to look at or talk to the other girls and we had to ask for permission to do anything, move even, of course go to the bathroom and we had to tell them what it is we had to do. They stood outside the door and timed us.
Group therapy was more like a denouncement session and began as soon as you were crying, that is later on the first day, after they had restrained you for a few hours and you were a broken puddle ready to confess to anything. I don't believe that many of the staff that actually lives with the girls on a daily basis is especially educated, perhaps some BA's and associate degrees, I would guess a lot of community college certifications. These are the ones who actually deal with the children and run group therapy and restrain them.
The lights were left on all the time, we slept in cubicles and were often woken by the staff patrolling , they were always standing over us.
We were punished constantly, abuse was constant every second for those two years. We had level systems, I never got beyond the first level although I was completely compliant. I don't think I was as willing to rip into my fellow prisoners as much they would have liked.
Group therapy was a communist denouncement experience, it was pure hell, and I am not exaggerating. They would find out your deepest darkest secrets and then browbeat you with them like you were disgusting dirt, we could say nothing to defend ourselves or we would face being PCId/ restrained. They liked sexual revelations and would ask you everything about them, specific details and more details, it was not appropriate, odd and used to induce shame.
The line of questioning was often very led. I heard them convince a girl, at the prompting of her divorced well-off mother, that her father had molested her. The girl could remember no instances of ever having been molested but through constant browbeating and abuse, over the course of months, the staff at the Village had the girl sobbing and believing that she had been sexually abused. You would confess under extreme pressure to things you didn't do.
Many of the girls were there for something that had happened to them. Somewhere, I think the website, says the Village is an expert at helping abused girls. It was terrible to watch them torture some poor kid who was there because she had been raped or molested. Many of the girls had been raped or molested, myself included, and to be held up to shame, ridicule and denouncement in relation to sex at a place that was supposed to help you with your experience was a pure nightmare.
They encourage the girls to pick on each other, to rip into each other during group therapy. Bullying is greatly encouraged, in fact the level system is based strongly on it. There was some desperation mentality in this, we all struggled so hard to avoid being punished and they punished all of us together.
I realize now that the punishments were arbitrary, no matter how hard we tried to avoid them they were still going to rain down on our heads. I would pretend to give feedback, their word for harassment and abuse, but how can you tear someone apart after listening to them scream all night while staff held their face into the floor.
There were also frequent outbreaks of head lice while I was in STU.
It seemed very odd that some of the girls were in a behavior modification facility at all and it was hard to tell how all the abuse was going to help any of them. One of the girls was in for telling her parents that she was gay, the staff told her that she was not.
There were lots of anorexics, and some had never used drugs or drank although staff insisted we were all alcoholic druggy sluts, an idea hateful and prejudice filled, not at all conducive to education and healing!
There was a 13 year old who had dyed her hair black and written in her diary "I wish all the kids who harass me at school would die" and that was pretty much it, I think her grades had dropped too. She saw spots sometimes and had blankness in her vision so they told her she was schizophrenic and medicated her to the gills. There was a lot of pretty odd diagnosis, I thought.
Worst of all some had done nothing other than get molested by a close relative, to the horror of their families. It did not seem reasonable that they were treated as if they were being punished or were in jail for more serious offenses.
I thought too, that a lot of the girls who were in for more serious things were acting out more serious problems in their lives, like having unfit parents and being in foster care. Many of the girls had simply fallen prey to some sexual predator. A very common story was "my parents don't understand me," "I have no parents, they are too busy drinking or using drugs" or "My “blank to protect privacy” has been molesting me since I was six and when I told my “blank” she threw me out." The next step in this story was inevitably "the guy I thought was nice, and 19 or younger, later turned out to be 23. He gave me alcohol or something else, pressured me a lot and we had sex. He said we had to have sex. He said he loved me. Or I used drugs/drank to make myself feel better and then I couldn't remember anything. Or I had sex because I felt bad and I thought I could trust the people I considered friends. I thought he cared about me, I just needed a hug.
God the poor girls who acted out their problems through sex or were just naive and ended up there. The sexual advances of men can be a pretty overwhelming even for a grown woman much less a depressed, my parents don't understand me, or I don't have parents, you'll love and give me affection right, sort of kid.
They made you feel like a slut, a word I hate and not one conducive to healing or education! Even if you were raped or molested. This is the most warped excuse for therapy I could possibly imagine.
I bet half of the girls I just described have committed suicide by now, the suicide rate is pretty high coming out of these places.
It ruins your life, it’s like having sound bites from hell running through your head. Some of the kids were just stupid teenagers who wanted to be cool and who had had enough bad experiences with drugs, sex and rock and roll, how they viewed sex and drugs, in their short experience with them that if they hadn't been in a prison camp and weren't being abused they would have been more than open to some logical, sane reasoning like sex and drugs are really not so great despite what the media and your friends say.
These girls needed to be taught to think for themselves, not to blindly follow what the abusive people around them tell them to do. That is what had landed many of them in Peninsula Village in the first place.
The brainwashing only carries you for about a year, usually I think. Although I think some of the girls started associating with the staff, I guess it’s that old abused turns into the abuser adage. Other wise the constant abuse did nothing but make you want to do everything it told you not to, because it was so obviously wrong and fascist. It gave you justification in your actions and, there for, was far more of a trap than any positive help!
I know all this about the other girls because we rarely to never had individual therapy it was mostly just the weird denouncement session crap.
After the lock down unit with its cramped quarters and barred mesh covered windows for months, we had the cabins and work detail. Work detail was exercise digging up stumps, cross sawing logs, mauling logs, building endless things under the constant abuse of the staff in the hot sun.
I believe I was also suffering from sleep deprivation because we were often woken up at two in the morning to go out to the log shed to be shown how much wood still needed to be chopped or for some other arbitrary reason.
We also always woke up before dawn and went to bed late because of punishments and finishing the endless chores. I used to fall asleep standing up, literally on a daily basis. We marched around in lines, or holding on to a rope, and there was still no talking or looking at the other girls, it was very lonely.
We had to haul around the Gott, a water jug that weighed so much your arms would feel like they were going to fall off and you'd want to vomit but if you dropped it you knew you were in worse trouble, we carried around many heavy things.
The cabins have no running water or bathrooms only porta johns. They exercise you past the breaking point and then over a little, and then much more. It was torture, I can't emphasize that enough torture, we did this all day most days, unless we were in school or on shutdown.
We had no free time, we weren't allowed to read or anything, everything was tightly scheduled and we would always miss our schedule and be punished although we tried in pure desperation to make them happy so they would stop. Even our showers were timed usually ten minutes, five as a punishment with only cold water.
Hygiene wasn’t that great and there was no makeup or jewelry or of course shaving your legs, only ugly work cloths. I mention this because it is very dehumanizing for a young girl.
School was nice when you got to go, but it wasn't very organized and there was a lot of other stuff going on, we also only went half the school week, so we could do more important things like dig stumps out of the ground, I guess.
Most left with a GED, I think they really focused on GED training, which makes it hard to get into colleges, especially if when they ask for high school credits you list a behavior modification facility.
Often if something came up, like we went on shutdown or were sent to STU, the lockdown unit, we would miss school all together. Once they had us sit in a circle with our backs to each other and stare at the wall for five months only to turn around for group therapy and to be escorted to the bathroom.
We had no school for those five months and five months is a long time to sit in a circle starring at a wall only to turn around for a denouncement session.
From all the restraining you are probably thinking that the girls were always acting up. I can not stress how completely not true this is. For the most part they were more like zombies than wild teenagers.
I’ve done some research on prison camps and abuse and I don't believe there is a teenager girl out there that isn’t going to turn into a limp half dead dish rag in the face of no escape, constant abuse; mental, physical, emotional and sexual, although not physically so, denouncement sessions, sleep deprivation, sadistic people four times her size watching her constantly and being drugged.
The only opposition I saw was closer to nervous breakdowns than defiance. The girls rarely crossed the staff at the Village except in really sad to watch ways, like protesting the denouncement sessions, no my rape wasn’t my fault, or saying I can’t work anymore I feel sick or I can’t stop sobbing I’m trying but I can't stop, I’m just going to sit here and not move. I saw bruises and suffered them myself I also heard a lot of you are hurting me I can’t breaths.
I never saw anything that posed as a danger to staff or the other girls but I sure saw them restrain people a lot. I also thought it odd that if the girls were so dangerous they would have them marching around with hammers, saws, mauls, axes and other weapons.
The Village is very expensive costing about 400 to 700 dollars a night this ends up being well over a hundred thousand dollars a year to your insurance company! They charge more when they are "forced" to restrain you or put you in STU, as this requires more work or something. Everyone in there had really good insurance or was a ward of the state.
I forgot to add they, of course, won't let you talk to your parents except after I think it was six months for me, even then just by phone with a family therapist on conference call so if you break out of the party line and say “please get me out it’s a nightmare” large orderlies can appear and march you back for more abusive indoctrination.
They laugh at you when you say you want a lawyer. Your Parents have of course been told you are a lying manipulator and not to believe you and that you just want to come home so you can go out with boys and smoke pot.
Kids wet the bed because they are too scared to ask to go to the bathroom at night, either that or all the abuse is manifesting in weird ways. I wouldn't believe it except I lived it and I swear on my life everything I said is 150% true.
I have lasting scars from this experience, I have nightmares almost every night, not always about the village just in general, that the world is a horrible place and all the scary fascist monsters are going to eat me and everything I care about and I'm going to be completely at there mercy. Besides the nightmares I shake uncontrollably, these fits happen any time I am nervous, about once a day, I am not exaggerating, it’s very embarrassing and not helpful at work or in school.
My family doctor, says that I have a good case of post traumatic stress disorder. I have finally gotten over my overwhelming social anxiety enough that I don't care who sees me shake if it means I get a college degree and have a life of my own.
The Village taught me nothing other than how to be cowed and subservient and to think it was ok when someone abuses me. I recently got out of a four year relationship with an alcoholic fiancé with a college degree and a good job who would get up in my face and scream about once a week, I honestly think it was Stockholm Syndrome and the feeling of helplessness the Village programs into you.
I still am completely incapable of making eye contact with other human beings. I also have painful a painful ulcer my doctor again says, due to stress. I can’t emphasize enough how bad Peninsula Village is.
I was amazed that we had no rights while in there. I asked to speak to a lawyer or someone from the outside, I heard girls ask to have the police called repeatedly, and they laughed at us.
I am not a happy camper! I still feel like a worthless person who deserves abuse even though I know this isn't true. It's just an all too daily mantra there, how everything is your fault, your rape, your parent’s problems, your anorexia, your life in foster care.
I never got to talk to another girl the entire time I was there, other than with asked permission and staff listening, even then it was just about mandatory things, like, put the piece of wood down here.
I can understand how many have been taken in by Peninsula Village and all these other facilities and there sure are a lot of them. From the outside they look just fine. My parents are good intelligent people, who trusted and had no idea that such things even existed in America. They believed as I did that it was a safe and caring program that would help their daughter like most school and health programs are. No-one sees it from the inside except the daily staff and the girls really and us they do so much to discredit and keep down that we do not believe anyone will.
The facility which was known as "Peninsula Village" has changed ownership since this teenager was at the program. The structure of the program has been altered. If for better is difficult to decide.